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Toilet Signs as Border Markers: Exploring Disabled People's Access to Space
International Journal of Disability and Social Justice, Volume: 1, Issue: 1
Swansea University Author: Charlotte Jones
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DOI (Published version): 10.13169/intljofdissocjus.1.1.0050
Signs prescribing our permission to enter or abstain from specific places, such as those on toilet doors, mark murky borders between quasi-public and private space and have profound impacts upon our lives and identities. In this paper we draw on research which centred trans, queer and disabled peopl...
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Signs prescribing our permission to enter or abstain from specific places, such as those on toilet doors, mark murky borders between quasi-public and private space and have profound impacts upon our lives and identities. In this paper we draw on research which centred trans, queer and disabled people’s experienc-es of toilet in/exclusion to explore how the signs on toilet doors shape disabled people’s experiences of toilet access away from home and therefore their use of public space more broadly. We argue that the use of the International Symbol of Access (ISA) both delivers a false promise of accessibility and maintains the borders of disability through (re)enforcing a particular public imaginary of dis-ability. We note the forced reliance on toilets in institutional and commercial settings when away from home and argue that, under capitalism, accessibility is persistently restricted by its potential to be lucrative.
accessibility; disability; bathroom; restroom; capitalism; public imaginary; charity; non-apparent impairment; invisible impairment
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
This research was funded by the AHRC Connected Communities Programme.